The Congress once again attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not naming China in his Independence Day speech on Saturday, asking the government to tell people how it proposes to push back Chinese forces occupying Indian territory.
The opposition party also criticised the government for its ‘atmanirbhar (self reliant)’ slogan and questioned how it will keep the country’s freedom when it has sold 32 public sector undertakings, handed over the railways and airports to private hands and attacked Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and Food Corporation of India (FCI).
“We all are proud of our armed, paramilitary and police forces. We 130 crore Indians and all Congress workers are proud of them. Whenever there has been an attack on us, they have given a befitting reply to the attackers,” Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters after the flag hoisting ceremony at the party headquarters in Delhi.
“But we must also think about why our rulers are scared of taking China’s name. Today, when China has occupied our territory we must ask the government how it proposes to push the Chinese forces back and protect our territorial integrity,” he said.
In his Independence Day speech from the ramparts of Red Fort, the Prime Minister delivered a sharp message to China and Pakistan, declaring that the armed forces deployed along the borders with the two countries have given a fitting reply to those who sought to challenge India’s sovereignty. However, he did not take the names of the two countries.
In his 90-minute speech, the Prime Minister extensively focused on the campaign to build a self-reliant India.
“Those who talk about ‘atmanirbhar’, the foundation of which was laid by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and other freedom fighters, we need to ask them will this government which has sold 32 public sector undertakings, handed over railways and airports to private hands and attacked LIC and FCI, keep the independence of this country secure,” Surjewala asked.
“Today, we all should take a pledge to sound a bugle of a decisive battle against those who attack that freedom. The will be the true nationalism,” he added.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi did not attend the flag hoisting ceremony and veteran leader AK Antony unfurled the tricolour at the party headquarters instead. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi was among the party leaders present on the occasion but he did not speak to the media.